By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger is confident that his players have enough technical ability to challenge for the title. Now he wants them to prove they have sufficient mental strength too.
Defeats against Fulham, Hull, Stoke and Aston Villa - not to mention that stoppage-time collapse against Tottenham - have left Arsenal nine points adrift of Chelsea and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League. However Wenger's side have also shown their undoubted quality this season, not least when they beat Manchester United at Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago.
Arsenal's inconsistency has been hard for Wenger to stomach and he wants his team to show the requisite desire and produce their best form in every game. Ahead of Saturday's trip to Manchester City, the Frenchman insisted that his players have what it takes to turn their fortunes around.
"I think we have the mental resolve," said Wenger. "I think we are caught sometimes by thinking too easily we will make it [in games], you know. For example a superficial analysis can think you did well against Aston Villa because we passed the ball three times more than they did, but [we were] going nowhere.
"We lost the decisive fights and we deserved to lose the [Villa] game, but that means as well that we know the parts of our game we have to improve. The basic potential is there.
"It is very frustrating. If we play golf together, and I am a very bad golfer, I can have a great shot once. But you play against a guy who is very good, nine times out of 10 he has a good shot. So that consistency is a sign of quality."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 21 Nov 2008